Commissioners approve ballot issue on new offices

FORT COLLINS – Larimer County Commissioners approved Tuesday a November ballot issue asking voters to let the county build a new office building in downtown Loveland.

The county plans to build a $12 million, 45,000-square-foot building. Financing would come from $8.7 million in sales taxes set aside for remodeling projects. The rest of the money would come from county reserves.

The new construction is being financed with money the county saved during the recession, when it was able to remodel the existing building for less money than it had expected to spend.
“We got some really good deals on remodeling… it just cost us less than it normally would have because people wanted to stay in business,” county spokeswoman Deni La Rue said. “That fund was able to accumulate more money.”

The reserve funds would be repaid using rent money paid by the grant-funded Larimer County Workforce Center as well as operating savings from the newer, energy efficient building. The Workforce Center would move from 418 E. Fourth St. in Loveland into the new building, which the county hopes to build downtown.

The current building at 205 E. Sixth St. in downtown Loveland is crowded and inefficient, according to the county. The building also lacks adequate parking and has poor wiring accommodations for new technology.

In 1997, voters approved a two-tenths-of-one-percent sales tax to remodel the current building and others. Multiple remodels and updates have occurred over the years to try keeping the building functional, but they have failed to address the building’s real problems, the county said.

Commissioner Tom Donnelly said in a statement from the county that if the ballot measure fails and the county cannot repurpose the money already collected, “the endless remodeling” would continue, he said.

“Aggressive remodels cannot properly accommodate new technology, adequate energy efficiencies nor create additional parking for customers,” he said.

“It is too expensive to operate a 40-plus-year-old building,” he added. “The new building would be less expensive to operate and would include adequate public parking.”

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